Publicity Designer: Isabella Dalliston

The Memory of Water (one of the three ADC Freshers’ shows) was bursting with fresh talent. The play, which touched on subjects of memory, selective memory, and forgetting, created a lasting impression with its able cast, creative set design and clever directing.

Shelagh Stephenson’s play is about three sisters on the eve of their mother’s funeral. With one sister being a doctor, another a manager of a homeopathic remedy business, and the third a drama queen, it is hard to imagine a more dysfunctional family. As they come together in their childhood home, they inevitably clash, criticising each other’s lifestyle choices and memories of their youth. The longer they spend together, the more they reveal of their remembered or misremembered childhood, and come face-to-face both with their own demons and family secrets bound up with it.

“Very interesting, pitiable, and comic”

“No wonder I’ve got low self-esteem”, the youngest sister, Catherine (Priya Edwards) says as her sisters misremember the name of her latest man, pull her up on her spending, and criticise her attention-seeking. However, what could have been a very annoying character soon became a very interesting, pitiable, and comic one as Edwards delivered her role with great feeling and dug into the deeper levels of her character. When her current love affair breaks up with her over the phone, she goes from bubbly and comic into heart-breaking within only a few lines. Edwards’ delivery of this and many other of her lines would have stolen the show were it not for the rest of the excellent cast. The most critical but conversely the most protective of the sisters is the eldest Teresa, played by Kay Benson. Benson toed a very good line between blaming her sisters for not being there at their mother’s death and displaying a maternal concern for her sisters.

The link to homeopathy is an important one. The Memory of Water is a theory in alternative therapy that water ‘remembers’ curative properties even after it has been diluted. This theory is discussed by Mary, a doctor and the middle child, and her lover, Mike, a doctor and married man. Iulia Teodorescu rose to the challenge of playing a character who must deal with grief, excitement about a pregnancy, anxiety for the future with her lover, then a catastrophic revelation. Mary is the tragic heroine of this play and for this reason she alone is visited by the spectre of her dead mother. Lovingly watching over and desperate to defend herself against the incomplete memories of her daughters, Anna Bullard delivered a strong and authoritative performance as former party girl Vi turned mother to three daughters bewilderingly different from her.

“The director really shone”

Though it is the female characters that dominate the play, mention must go to the two male characters Mik and Frank, played respectively by Joe Hilton and Charlotte Husnjak, who were not overshadowed by the sisters’ drama but were able to make the characters their own. By the end of the play, the three women’s problems are not solved, but they come to an impasse. This is where the director really shone. Throughout the play, the sisters seem to long for a connection, especially the youngest, Catherine, who seems to feel rejected throughout the play both by her sisters and the men in her love life. In one of the closing moments, she is given a reassuring touch by Teresa in what feels like the first time the sisters have physically connected during the entire play.


Mountain View

Review: Love and Money

Listening to two hours of arguing could have been very tedious; however, it is a testament to the cast and directors that they delivered the performance with such feeling, character and emotion that it was hard not to be drawn in. It’s easy to forget, as the girls are dealing with their own lives, that they are in fact grieving. Set in their mother’s cluttered bedroom, we feel that the space is filled with memory. Over the course of the play, the space clutters and unclutters with what the mother left behind, including her remains. The set serves as a good metaphor for how the women’s lives have spilled out into the open and it is up to them to reorder them.

This production of The Memory of Water was a brilliant showcase of the new talent of Cambridge amateur dramatics

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